Cigarette prices rise by 20 percent in Oman
September 20, 2016 | 11:43 AM
by Rahul Das / [email protected]
Photo - shutterstock

Muscat: Buying a pack of cigarettes in Oman will now cost 20 percent more, after a tax hike on tobacco products.

The government has raised the tax on tobacco products from 20 per cent to 40 per cent, a 100 per cent increase aimed at reducing smoking in the Sultanate.

That means if you pay OMR 1 for a pack, you’ll now have to pay OMR1.2.

Dr Jawad Al Lawati, senior consultant and rapporteur for the National Tobacco Control Committee at the Ministry of Health (MoH), said the tax on tobacco products has been raised for the first time in 17 years. “The taxes were last raised in 1999,” he revealed.

The higher tax on tobacco was announced after Bahrain raised it in January and Saudi Arabia in March 2016.

Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait are yet to implement the new taxes.

Al Lawati also hinted that cigarette prices may be increased further. “This is the first raise, the second one will happen soon,” he noted.

According to a survey conducted by MoH, while 15 per cent of Oman’s male population uses tobacco products, 0.5 per cent of the female population uses tobacco products.

Citing records, officials also pointed out that 60 per cent of deaths in Oman are due to non-communicable diseases, such as cardio-vascular conditions, including coronary heart disease and cancers.

Earlier, several members of the Majlis Al Shura had requested the government to implement a proposal prepared by Ministry of Health to impose local taxes on tobacco.

“We have to raise them so that it remains beyond the reach of children,” one of them had said.

According to him, countries that had previously raised taxes on tobacco have been able to significantly reduce the impact of tobacco use. “We hope that the price of a pack [of cigarettes] will be higher, and rise to a level that can help reduce consumption (significantly),” he said.

Comparative prices of a packet of Marlboro Red cigarettes

Saudi Arabia – SAR12 (OMR1.2), Oman – OMR1 earlier, now OMR1.2, Bahrain – BHD1.3, Qatar – QAR10, UAE – AED10, Kuwait – KWD0.75 - Source: Cost of Living

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